Although the investigation into Sunday’s horrific tour bus accident near Palm Springs is only in its earliest stages, the early available suggests that the owner and sole employee of Alhambra-based USA Holiday had a long history of traffic offenses and troubles with state regulators.
The California Highway Patrol gave USA Holiday “Unsatisfactory” ratings following inspection of its terminal facility in 2005, 2007, 2008, and 2010 and the company appears to have failed to meet state requirements regarding mandatory drug and alcohol testing of its drivers in 2005 and 2010.
The company’s owner and only driver, Teodulo Elias Vides, had a bus driver record that would have disqualified him from driving for any other tour bus company:
A May, 2011 citation on the East 10 Freeway near Palm Springs for speeding and driving on a suspended license. Although he failed to appear to answer the charges, they were later dismissed when he presented a valid license to the court.
Two 2011 citations in Santa Barbara County for “lane straddling.”
A September, 2005 citation in Riverside County. He was reported to be driving another bus when he was stopped for driving over 70 miles per hour on the 10 Freeway near Cabazon. Although ordered to attend traffic school, records indicate that he did not comply with the order and his bail was forfeited.
In addition his to traffic tickets, Vides had also received a citation from the state Public Utilities Commission for operating USA Holiday with an expired permit.
USA Holiday’s Legal Trouble
In spite of his driving record, Vides appears to have continued driving without restrictions. However, Vides’ driving record appears to have been overshadowed by USA Holiday’s other legal troubles.
According to court records Vides or his company, USA Holiday, have been sued at least twice since 2003:
A June, 2003 collision on the 60 Freeway in Riverside that injured two people. The case was settled on undisclosed terms in 2006.
A May, 2007 collision on the 215 Freeway, also in Riverside, that killed three people. Court records indicate the case was dismissed after the plaintiffs failed to meet a court deadline.
In both cases the driver of the USA Holiday employee at the wheel was identified as Paulino Camacho Ceballos.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which is responsible for investigating accidents involving interstate “for hire” transportation, is assisting the California Highway Patrol and the state Public Utilities Commission with their investigations into the USA Holiday tour bus accident that killed 12 mostly elderly passengers and Vides, who was the driver.
Although the investigation is in its early stages, a preliminary reconstruction of the accident indicates that around 5:00AM the USA Holiday tour bus was traveling east on the 10 Freeway at a speed very close to, or above, the posted speed limit. The weather in the immediate area of the accident was clear, with no indication that visibility was reduced by fog, smoke, or terrain. On a flat stretch of road Vides, the driver, crashed into the rear of a tractor-trailer rig that was also traveling east but at a much slower speed than the bus. There were no skid marks observed at the scene of the crash, an indication that Vides did not apply his brakes before the bus crashed into the rear of the truck. Extensive damage to the front of the bus and the trailer component of the tractor trailer rig strongly suggest that the tour bus was traveling much faster than the truck. Investigators for both the Highway Patrol and the NTSB have indicated that the driver of the truck was not at fault in the accident and will not be charged.
Based on the facts discussed above, the USA Holiday tour bus accident attorney at the Doan Law Firm believes that the bus driver record of Teodulo Elias Vides proves that he had a long history of traffic violations that he ignored and that his company, USA Holiday, was repeatedly cited for safety violations. These facts are strongly suggestive that Vides routinely placed his passengers in danger of injury or death and that, based on the impressions of accident investigators, he was directly responsible for the accident that killed 12 people and injured dozens more.
The bus accident lawyer of the Doan Law Firm would like to remind the victims of the USA Holiday bus accident that the law clearly states that those who have been injured due to the negligent actions of another have a legal right to be compensated for their injuries. Those passengers that were injured in this accident, as well as the families of those that died, can contact the USA Holiday tour bus accident lawyer at the Doan Law firm of Los Angeles by calling (424) 334-000 to arrange a free consultation regarding the USA Holiday tour bus accident.